The Building Blocks of the Christian Life (2 Peter 1:1-15)


      A look into the epistles of Peter is a glimpse into the end of Peter’s life.  It’s a look into his heart.  It’s the man of God looking back on His ministry and giving to the church the most vital things they need to move forward for God with the benefit of all of it being given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

    Luke 22 records a conversation between the Lord Jesus and Peter.  It takes place just at that last Passover supper before the Christ went to the cross.  In verse 31 and 32, Christ says to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

      John 21 records another conversation between the Lord Jesus and Peter that takes place after Christ’s resurrection.  Jesus asked Peter a question.  “Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me?”  Peter answered, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.”  The Lord told him, “Feed my lambs.”  Two more times they exchanged these words.  “Do you love me?”  “Yes.”  “Feed my sheep.” 

    Through the course of his ministry, Peter finally understood the context of those conversations.  “Strengthen the brethren.”  “Feed my sheep.”  Peter did those things with his ministry, and with his epistles he did them at the end of his life.  Not only that, but in 1 Peter 5, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he encourages other ministers to feed the flock of God.  He encouraged them to do the same things that Jesus told him to do.

      In Chapter 1 of 2 Peter, the apostle tells the sheep that he is going to die soon.  The Lord told him so.  Because of that, there were some things he wanted to tell them once again.  There were some things he wanted them to hear once again.  (Read 12-15)  He said, “I know you know these things.  I know that you’re established in them.  But even after I’m gone, I want you to keep them in remembrance.  It’s vital.  It’s necessary.  I want it on your mind always. 

      Peter was feeding the sheep.  He was strengthening the brethren.  He knew what was good for them.  He knew what they needed, just like a shepherd.  Now God’s people are not sheep in the sense of dumb animals, but they are in the sense that they are the prized possessions of Christ, the Chief Shepherd.  As was discussed in Sunday School last week, the pastor is an under-shepherd.  He is responsible for the continual care of the flock.  

    The pastor has to ensure the proper diet of the flock.  Even if the sheep don’t want to eat, He is responsible to lead them to those green pastures.  Even if it tastes the same as the last time, the flock needs to eat.  Even if it’s not dessert all the time, that makes you feel good, it’s good for you.  When a preacher brings up certain subjects again and again, it’s not that he doesn’t have anything else to say.  He just knows what’s good for you.  So what was it that Peter wanted to put into their remembrance? 


  1. Faith.  You’re saved.  You’ve been saved by faith in Jesus Christ.  You have believed in His righteousness.  You have faith that He is qualified, able, and willing to save you.  Through Him, you have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  You have eternal life.  Not only that, but by His divine power, His indwelling Holy Spirit that speaks to you through the Word, He has given unto you all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  The power to live a godly life comes not from you but from God.  Now that you’ve been saved, regenerated, and made a new creature, you have the liberty in Christ to live right and access to the power of God to live right.  All of this is made possible in your salvation.  Salvation gives you a home in heaven, but it also gives you much more.  It doesn’t just give you a destination.  It gives you a wonderful glorious journey to that destination.  Now look at verse five.  “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith.”  This does not mean that you need to do more than trust Christ to be saved.  Rather, because you are saved, you need some more things in your Christian life.  Notice he says to do it with all diligence.  Work at it.  Press toward the mark.  Determine to do it.  Faith in Christ is the foundation for the rest of your Christian life.  It is the support.  Without it, there can be nothing else, but it doesn’t end there.  So what do we add to our faith?
  1. Virtue. The kind of virtue we’re talking about here is courage or valor.  It takes courage to live the Christian life.  Be bold in your faith.  Don’t be afraid.  Have the courage to live for the Lord.  (Joshua 1:7/Proverbs 28:1)  Someone once said, “Let not your hearts fail you in the evil day, but show yourselves valiant in standing against all opposition and resisting every enemy, world, flesh, devil, yea, and death too.”  For the Christian, courage is simply knowing and believing that God is bigger than everything else.  Simply understand that standing for Christ is standing with Christ.  Nebuchadnezzar didn’t see the fourth man whose form was like the Son of God until the three Hebrews were in the fire.  But they knew He was there the whole time.  We face nothing alone.  We face everything with Christ who has already faced the worst for us.  Add virtue to your faith.
  2. Knowledge. Next add knowledge to virtue.  We need to know the Scripture.  We need to know what God’s Word says about the issues of life.  We need to arm ourselves with the knowledge of the Word.  How can we prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God lest we delve into His Word?  We fill our heads with so much useless information and leave little room for the Word of God.  Why do we devote so much attention to worldly wisdom when we can fill our minds and hearts with the knowledge of God?  Why not give the Bible have first dibs on space and let it push all those other things out?  With that knowledge, we learn wisdom and discernment as well.  Knowledge is knowing what to do.  Wisdom is knowing when to do it.  It is knowing what to say and when to say it.    It is being full of grace and truth and then speaking the truth in love.  (Proverbs 2:1-7)
  3. Temperance. On top of knowledge, add temperance. Self-control.  Control of your thoughts and affections.  Not getting hooked on the world.  Voluntarily abstaining from pleasures that do not lead to God.  An intemperate person is satisfied with feeding on the husks of the world around him.  A temperate Christian is looking higher to the Lord.  A temperate Christian says no to the world so he can say yes to the Lord. With temperance, you won’t be distracted and led astray when something that appears more attractive presents itself.  It’ll help you even when something else appears easier.  Many a preacher has given up staying true to standards and convictions because it’s easier to get a crowd without them.  But if he’s learned some temperance, he won’t run after the first flashy ministry he sees.  As God’s people, we learn what the right desires and affections are from the knowledge of God and builds temperance on that knowledge.    (Titus 2:11-13)
  4. Patience. Next, add patience.  Notice how we’re building one on top of another.  Each level built helps you reach the next. Temperance keeps you away from the wrong things.  Patience helps you wait on God for the right things.  Patience keeps you from complaining and murmuring against God.  Patience waits in faith for the fulfillment of God’s promises.  For the Christian, patience is faith that has matured.  We know God will do what He says, and we can wait on Him to do it.    Faith says, “God will always do the right thing, and will always do it at the right time.”  Patience says, “I need what God is doing right now as much as what I want to see Him do in the future.”  Patience (James 1:3-4/Romans 5:3)
  5. Godliness. Then add godliness.  Patience bears fruit.  On patience is built godliness.  Godliness does not come instantaneously when you get saved.  It is a sanctifying process.  At this point, you don’t just know how God wants you to live.  You have the self-control to stay away from the easy way and the patience to wait on God for the best way.  Now you’ve come to the place where you want only what God wants for you.  The Lord is sanctifying you and changing you.  You’ve been in the refiner’s fire since you started on the journey of the Christian life, and now it’s starting to show.  With patience, you are getting worked on by the Lord.  He is molding you and making you.  Godliness comes out of that.  Sometimes it gets uncomfortable.  Sometimes it outright hurts, but the end result is a vessel that glorifies the Lord and is useful to Him.  (Psalm 89:30-33)  Even when chastising, He is still kind and faithful.  As His child, you become more like Him, and grow in godliness.
  6. Brotherly kindness. Now we come to brotherly kindness.  Love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Notice the progression that we have been taking.  Now that you have been built up by the Lord, you are able to have brotherly kindness.  You can forgive.  You can encourage.  You can comfort to be a help and other Christians.  This comes so far down the list because it can be so tough.  It requires all the dying to self that we learned in the other building blocks.  Even the brethren are not always so easy to love.  We often just act like lost people.  Loving the brethren is one of the greatest evidences of being a believer.  This being in the list here ought to convince us of the importance of the local church.  It’s a lot easier show to brotherly kindness to my local church that I worship and serve God with than the entirety of the body of Christ.  If you want to show brotherly kindness, start right here in this room.  (Ephesians 4:32)  Beloved let us love one another.
  7. Charity. Lastly we come to charity.  Love people.  Love all people.  Love them with the love that God has for them.  Desire them to be saved, and then act upon it.  Witness to the lost.  When you’ve been built up this far, you’ve made it to the heartbeat of God.  Loving the lost is God’s heartbeat.  (1 Corinthians 13)
  8. Now look at verses 8-9. If you’ve got these things, you will be fruitful and useful to god.  If you don’t, you’ll end up so far from God, you won’t be sure if you ever got saved.  However, if you do them, you’ll not fall.  You have been given the foundation of Jesus Christ.  Let Christ have your whole life and build you into the Christian He designed for you to be.